Pop, Rap Lyrics Support a Culture Demeaning Women

May 9, 2018

Misogyny has always been a issue in media. The over-sexualization of women is appalling, and quite degrading. This problem often slips by unnoticed because we have become desensitized to it. It's never viewed as a problem, instead it's become normal to overly sexualize females in objectifying and misogynistic ways. 

Now one would think this is mainly in movies, TV, and video games. While this problem is certainly within these forms of media, the matter I find most pressing to address is the misogyny in pop music.  Popular music thrives off of the superficial process of repetition. It sticks to a small set of musical themes, and uses them until they're no longer trendy. It's never about art, it's about what will sell the most, and right now for male artists that topic is demeaning women. They don't care about the effects of these messages, as long as they're paid.

This issue however, has worsened due to recent popularity of rap, especially because the main demographic is young developing males who are being fed this mindset at a vulnerable age. For example, the most obvious problem with this genre is that woman are hardly ever referred to as women. It's always terms like (excuse my language) "bitch," "whore," "ho," or "slut." 

“These hoes! They hate! Your boy! Today!  . . .Bend it over, lift it up, bend it over, lift it up, make that jump. . .”- Drake, Nice For What? (Ranked #1 song in America currently). 

This is among many other degrading factors, like the recurring theme of committing a sexual act on a woman. If the singer isn't mentioning having sexual relations, then they are describing the female in a objectifying nature,  emphasizing her bodily features like her breasts and butt. 

"I'm hittin' lil' mama, she wanna have my babies. Sippy on the Panky, chain so stanky. You should see the whip, promise I can take yo bitch. . .Boolin' with a thot-thot, she gon' give me top-top. Just one switch, I can make the ass drop..”-Post Malone, Psycho (Ranked #4 in the charts).

The issue doesn’t just lie in the rap genre though, these are just the obvious examples; the entire male pop industry is oozing with misogyny. Though they aren't as blatant as rap lyrics, the messages are still quite sexist. These songs portray a borderline problematic sense of control over women. “Oh, blame it on your measurements. Shut that shit down on sight, that’s right”- Bruno Mars, Finesse (Ranked #12 on the charts). This specific example promotes the idea of making your partner cover herself, out of jealousy, limiting her freedom of expression. 

They also glorify using girls for sex, but the theme of objectification also exists outside of that. They sing about features like lips, eyes, hair, etc., which shouldn’t seem offensive, but it becomes insulting once that’s all they write about. They don't mention a female’s mentality or interests. It's always physical features, like that's all women are, a pretty face for sexual pleasure.

The thing that worries me is the impact this has on young men. The illusory truth effect is the idea that if you hear something repeated you begin believing it. This effect isn’t something one is aware of, and it can be harmful because it's pop music; it’s everywhere, on the radio, internet, advertisements, and more. Even if listeners claim to not disrespect women, they will eventually.

I'm pleading as a women for human rights. I’m not demanding censorship, I’m asking for respect.

Neila Cairnduff is a student at Gorham High School. She participated in the 2018 Raise Your Voice Workshops in Portland and plans to return for a second year this summer.